Reviewed by Paula Citron
Kudos to Actors Repertory Company for staging the Canadian premiere of Martin Crimp’s provocative The City. Crimp is a new voice in British theatre. He’s clearly interested in innovative form and style. The well-made play is not for him; intrigue, vulnerability, menace, and yes, confusion, are the tools of his trade.
Romanian director Theodor-Cristian Popescu has been imported to stage The City, and his acquaintance with the playwright goes back a long way. Popescu uses stylization and artifice to match Crimp’s cryptic text. Every physical movement counts for something.
These tortured relationships aren’t about realism but about a layered subtext deeper than the earth has strata. Designer Gillian Gallow has given Popescu a clever white box set in which to manoeuvre actors garbed in a brilliant costume design.
The cast is still grappling with Crimp’s uncertainties but manage a galvanizing performance nonetheless.
You’ll be talking about this play all the way home.
The City continues at Berkeley Street Theatre Upstairs until Apr. 3.
Actors Repertory Company
Written by Martin Crimp
Directed by Theodor-Cristian Popescu
Starring Deborah Drakeford, Peter James Haworth, Janel Porter and Anja Bundy
Berkeley Street Theatre Upstairs, Mar. 19 to Apr. 3, 2010